Morris Bye Elementary is a school building with room to grow.
The elementary school in Coon Rapids is currently under capacity, but about 125 new students will be assigned to the school next fall. Shifting additional students to Morrie Bye will better utilize the building's available teaching space and also relieve overcrowding at nearby Sand Creek Elementary. The shift is just one of many.
Similar changes are planned in schools throughout the Anoka-Hennepin School District for the 2019-2020 school year.
Monday night, the Anoka-Hennepin school board gave final approval to the change at Morris Bye and several other elementary and middle schools. The school board finalized a months-long process to adjust attendance boundaries throughout the district. In all, about 11 percent of students in the Anoka-Hennepin District will change schools.
“We're opening new schools, we're creating new space, but we're also adjusting the populations so we can do the things parents have asked: reduce class size, make it a better experience for the child,” said Chuck Holden, chief operations officer for Anoka-Hennepin schools.
In the Coon Rapids cluster of schools, six of the area’s nine elementary schools received new boundaries. All three middle schools in the Coon Rapids cluster also have boundary changes, although no boundaries will change at the high school level. The approved proposals will impact a little less than 500 kids throughout the Coon Rapids cluster of schools.
Coon Rapids schools with new attendance boundaries for the 2019-2020 school year include: Adams Elementary, Eisenhower Elementary, Hamilton Elementary, Morris Bye Elementary, Sand Creek Elementary, University Elementary, Coon Rapids Middle School, Northdale Middle School and Roosevelt Middle School.
Anoka-Hennepin spent months gathering feedback before Monday's final vote. Although boundary changes are necessary, they are never easy.
“I think the process is very hard,” said Holden. “And the school board made the comment at the meeting Monday night that it's the most difficult thing they do.”
“Change is hard but all of our schools are wonderful facilities, wonderful schools, and we offer the same curriculum,” said Holden.
The ultimate goal is to lower class sizes and provide more space for teachers to do their job. Currently, many teachers and staff throughout the district are without designated classroom space and must travel on carts to bring their lessons to students. Meanwhile, many children attend lessons in portable classrooms. Between the various new construction projects underway in the district and the approval of new boundaries, the district hopes to solve these problems and others.
The district created a website with maps detailing the final boundary changes here.
Jennifer Anderson reporting